New equipment vital for a revived stock feed plant in Wanganui should be in the country next month.
SealesWinslow bought the former Inghams Feeds plant in Kelvin St, Aramoho, this year and signalled an major upgrade of the plant, producing stock feed from locally grown grains and tapping into the rural market in the lower North Island.
The company already has production facilities at Morrinsville and Ashburton and the Wanganui acquisition filled a gap in the company's coverage.
Chief executive Graeme Smith said the company had already signed local grain growers who would mainly supply maize as well as some wheat and barley.
"It means we're taking 4000-5000 tonnes of maize from local growers initially," he said.
"And that's not all we need so we're still looking for more."
If the company snared 100 per cent of the stock feed market he said it would need 10,000 tonne of maize but "we won't get that to start with". By comparison, the Morrinsville mill served a much larger dairy farming area and it had contacts from maize growers to provide 10,000 tonnes during a season.
Across the board, SealesWinslow produces 80,000 tonnes of stock feed a year.
Mr Smith said they were on target to have the Aramoho plant starting up production on June 1.
They had already dispatched small amounts of stock feed from the depot but this was being trucked from Morrinsville.
Upgrading at Kelvin St was well under way.
A new storage bunker was being built at the back of the existing factory, where protein product would be off-loaded. It would be stored in six new silos being imported and then mixed with maize and other grains to create the finished stock feed products.
"The new mill is on its way from Europe and that's due here early January. Other plant is coming from the US," Mr Smith said. "But, as much as we can, we're using local companies to upgrade and install what we need and that means using local builders and electricians."
He said they were also adding a new piece of equipment at the plant but said he could not say what that was "because we don't want our competitors to know".
"At the moment it's being produced at our South Island mill and shipped to the North Island.
"Putting that plant in at Wanganui gives us a better location and from here it will be supplied to the markets further north. Obviously it saves us a lot in terms of cartage," he said.
New plant at the mill included elevators, conveyor belts and a new hopper press as well as the six smaller silos.
Mr Smith said SealesWinslow was now in the process of looking for staff for recruitment early in the New Year.
"Because we're adding another piece of production equipment into the plant we'll be looking for one or two staff above what we initially planned for."
There would now be about five people in production, two in sales and one in administration. But there would also be a need for casual staff during seasonal peaks.
"Depending on how good the market becomes for us we may have to ramp up staff numbers to handle the demand. We are looking for people and we're happy for them to contact us."